Knowing that everything had been accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, He said, “I thirst.”
Of course He thirsts. He is bleeding to death. The blood is nearly gone. It’s an impossibility that He has made it this far. It’s an act of will– His will, His refusal to die before the appointed time, that has kept Him alive this long. It is an act of God– a bizarre, dreadful, terrible miracle. The Son of God willed to suffer this long, to stay with us until the ninth hour. He willed to suffer anything His beloved did to Him until the ninth hour. He willed it, and it was done.
His thirst is unimaginable.
His body thirsts for water.
His soul thirsts for love. He thirsts for the love of the Father, which He cannot feel. He chose to come and pitch His dwelling among us, to suffer what we suffer, and we cannot often feel the Father’s love. The love of the Father is the Holy Ghost Who is the Giver of Life. Where the Holy Ghost moves, there is the pulse of life. Where the Holy Ghost moves, the unclean are cleansed. Where the Holy Ghost moves, the dry ground is watered and living things grow. Christ thirsts for the ever-present love of the Father, but He cannot feel it with Him because His agony is united with ours. His pulse is giving out. His body is torn to shreds, a dirty and unclean thing. His tongue is dry as desert sand. He thirsts.
He also thirsts for us.
He thirsts for you.
You cannot survive a moment without the love of God. The love of God sustains you; the love of God is your heartbeat and breath, even if you don’t believe it to be true. The love of God is the Water without which you die of thirst. Christ wanted to share all things in common with you, so He came down from Heaven to share your thirst, and to thirst for you as your soul thirsts for Him. He longs for you. His longing is deeper than you can imagine, deeper than the physical thirst thirst of a man bleeding to death.
Have you ever longed for God?
He longs for you more.
Have you ever suffered, when you could not feel the presence of God?
He suffered with you, and He suffered more.
Have you ever felt joy in the presence of God?
His joy at a glance or a thought from you is deeper.
He thirsts for you– for you, the one reading this. For Mary, for Michael, for Cynthia, for Karl, for Maria, Maren, Eve and Theresa, Daniella and Matthew, Rebecca, Andrea, Holly, Scott, Josh, Henry, Mark, Annie. He thirsts for you, personally. He thirsts to draw you to Himself and fill you with every good gift. His thirst is violent, stabbing, strong as death, severe as hell, painful as flashes of fire. His thirst is perfect love, for love is an endless river of delight but it is also an abyss. When the abyss of love is met in kind with an outpouring of love– that is the eternal outpouring of the Father into the Son and the Son back to the Father. That is charity; that is grace; that is Heaven; that is the movement of the Holy Ghost. But when the abyss of love is not filled with love, that is thirst.
In response, every prayer, every holy desire, every cry for help, every act of charity and mercy His beloved has ever offered is raised to His lips– imperfect as any of our prayers and works are imperfect. Sour. Broken. Common wine soaked into a hyssop sponge.
It is sweet to Him, because it is yours.
He sees your face, how beautiful you are, and kisses you.
He takes the wine.
Perfect love is an abyss, but perfect love is also perfect joy. Eternity has room for both. Somewhere in all that anguish, he rejoices in you, because He loves you.
Never be afraid to lift your common wine to Christ.
Only you can comfort Him, because He thirsts for you.
(image via Wikimedia Commons)